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Birth injury profile: Hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy

Many childbirths happen without any complications; however, it is always possible that something will happen that puts the mother or baby at risk. One complication that can occur is hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy. This occurs when the baby's brain doesn't get enough oxygen. Our Kentucky readers might be interested in learning a little about this condition.

HIE is caused by a variety of reasons. Strangulation, blocked blood vessels, choking, compression of the trachea that can cause changes in breathing and paralysis of the respiratory organs are some of the causes of HIE. While HIE isn't something that is preventable, providing the baby with oxygen or doing CPR can help to provide oxygen that could improve the outcome.

There are several symptoms of HIE that can be life impacting. Poor coordination, severe drowsiness, seizures, difficulty breathing and loss of consciousness are some of the possibilities. The treatment for the condition includes the use of cooling blankets if the HIE is heat-related, seizure control medications, use of ventilators, life-sustaining treatment and circulatory system treatments.

When you consider that brain cells start dying in only four minutes without oxygen, it is easy to see how even seemingly minor issues with the baby can turn deadly. If your baby has been harmed because of inadequate medical care during labor and delivery, you have the right to seek compensation for the injury. Not only can this help to cover unexpected costs of having a baby with special needs, it can also help to take some of the financial burden off your family so that you can focus on helping to give your little one the best life possible.

Source: NYU Langone Medical Center, "Hypoxic Ischemic Encephalopathy" Dec. 16, 2014

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